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Fantastic Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole for a Crowd

(and a perfect size recipe for your family)

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just making breakfast for your family this holiday season, you’ll love everything about this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole for a Crowd recipe.  It’s crowned with crispy, crunchy tater tots and teeming with all your breakfast favorites including sausage, cheese and eggs; all in an easy to assemble dish.  If you have family in for the holidays you’ll definitely want to put it on the menu.

Great Breakfast for Large Groups

This is also another fantastic large group breakfast recipe – perfect if you’re cooking for a family reunion, planning a girls camp breakfast recipe or any other breakfast for a crowd situation that might arise.   And it’s not just a matter of simply increasing the quantity.  I’ll show you some terrific short cuts when cooking casseroles for a crowd and answer the many questions that are probably bubbling up in your mind.

A Tasty Treat for your Friends & Family

As a make ahead breakfast casserole, it doesn’t get any quicker or more delicious than this.  We had many people coming back for seconds and thirds when I served 3 pans of it to 130 people for our Church Christmas Breakfast this year.   If you have 12 – 20 guests, the 50 serving recipe would easily handle them for several breakfasts.  Or make the smaller Family size recipe to serve 12-15.

Quick and Easy Either Way

The great thing about this dish is that it comes together quickly the night before and is simply the BEST Breakfast Casserole I’ve ever had.  It’s a perfect breakfast for this holiday season.   Let me show you how easy it is to make (regardless of whether if you’re making it for 5 or 50!)

What would you serve with this?

I just recently served this for our Church Christmas Breakfast.  Here’s the menu with links to the other items.

 

Mini Sweet Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Mixed Fruit Salad with an Orange Vanilla Glaze

Mini Ham & Cheese Sliders

French Toast Casserole with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel Topping (Coming Next!)

Here’s some tips you might find interesting if you ever have to cook for a crowd.

If you’re cooking the smaller version for your family, you can go ahead and fry up the sausage on the stove top.  But if you’re making the Breakfast Casserole for a large group, you really don’t want to fry up 6 pounds or more of sausage.  At least I sure don’t. Here’s the handy time-saving solution:  Any time you’re cooking sausage (or crumbled hamburger) for more than 50, simply do it in the oven.

Just spread out the sausage in an even layer over the bottom of several large disposable aluminum pans, breaking it into small pieces with your hands, like the picture below. In this case I  have 2 large pans, each serving 50.  And 2 smaller disposable aluminum pans, each serving 25.  The reason I used the 2 smaller pans was to give me an even number of pans for each of the 2 serving lines I set up. Cook initially for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the sausage from oven and break larger pieces into smaller pieces with your hands or a plastic spatula. Then return it to the oven and continue cooking until it’s brown and cooked through, about 10 – 15 minutes more.  It looks like this prior to breaking it into smaller pieces.

Now let me answer some of those questions that are undoubtedly bubbling up in your mind if you’re cooking breakfast for a large group:

Is this an EASY breakfast casserole for a crowd?

This sure is. To save time and mess instead of frying up the sausage on the stove top, the large group recipe is modified to simply cook it in the oven. Meanwhile you not only avoid the mess, you can be breaking the eggs and mixing the rest of the ingredients.  This is especially handy if you’re making several batches!

How much will 50 people eat?

This is probably the biggest question most people have when cooking for a crowd.  Over the years I have found a wonderfully simple solution.  Regardless of what you’re serving, a 21” x 13” x 3.5” disposable aluminum pan will produce 50 main dish servings.  (If you’re serving a side dish it often produces 60 – 75 servings.)  You can fit two of these pans in a standard oven, each pan serves 50, so each oven can produce 2 pans for a total of 100 servings.  The casserole in the picture below comfortably served 50 people no problem!  Click here to order these pans.

How long should I cook a casserole for a large group?

This is probably the second biggest question most people have when cooking for a crowd.  I put this casserole (cold from the refrigerator) in the oven at 8:45 on a center rack. At 10:15 (1 hour and 30 minutes later) the edges were done, but the center was still fairly liquid. The top however was perfectly golden brown.  I covered it with aluminum foil and cooked it 15 minutes more.  At 10:30 (1 hour 45 minutes total cook time) it was perfect.

How much longer will it take to cook 2 large casseroles in the oven at once?

Your large group casseroles will typically take 15 percent longer to cook if you are cooking 2 dishes at once.  Make sure the oven is fully preheated before inserting the dishes, and to ensure even cooking, rotate the dishes halfway through.  Last time I did this, one casserole in a 21” x 13” x 3.5” disposable aluminum pan took 1 hour 45 minutes to cook perfectly, two (each in a 21” x 13” x 3.5” disposable aluminum pan) took 2 hours and 15 minutes.

How long does the casserole stay warm out of the oven?

I removed the casserole from the oven at 10:30, covered it with aluminum foil and while it was at its best up to 15 minutes later, it was still warm even after sitting for 30 minutes (allowing you plenty of time to assemble the troops).

Can the casserole be made in advance?

This breakfast casserole is fantastic for a make-ahead dish to spare you getting up with the roosters. Whether you’re prepping for breakfast the next day or making a large batch to take to a brunch, it’s very easy to assemble. It can be whipped up at any time and kept in the fridge for 24 hours before baking.

What’s the best way to store and transport a large group casserole?

Through some (very painful) trial and error (the one noise you DON’T want to hear coming from the back of your CR-V (filled with multiple large capacity slow cookers full of wonderful green beans, onions, bacon and lot’s of wonderful green bean juice) as you are careening around the corner, racing to feed a 150 member cast and crew of the Savior of the World is GLUG, GLUG, GLUG) I’ve found that the best way to store and transport food for a large group is in 2 gallon baggies.  I place these 2 gallon baggies filled with with the food in the refrigerator, preferably sitting in one of the large disposable pans I’ll be using to cook them in if I have room.  This saves time and minimizes mess should the baggie leak.

If I’m cooking them elsewhere, I transport them sealed in the baggies too.  Again, it saves a world of heartache (and CR-V mess) (despite extensive cleaning, the CR-V STILL smells WONDERFUL.)   Then when I’m ready to cook the casseroles, I simply empty out the baggies into the pans and put the pans in the oven.  NOTE: If you are doing this for this recipe, DO NOT ADD THE TATER TOT TOPPING until just before you are ready to put the casserole in the oven.  Otherwise, the tater tots will get soggy.

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Family Size

Family Size Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 servings
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 1 pound mild pork sausage
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese - shredded
Topping
  • 1/2 (32 ounce) package Mini tater tots
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium frying pan over medium high heat, add sausage and cook until brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. When done, drain off half of the fat and break up sausage into small bite size pieces with your hands or a spatula.
  4. Whisk the eggs. Add milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and seasoned salt. Stir in cooked sausage. Fold cheddar cheese into egg mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into the baking pan and arrange frozen tater tots in a single layer over the egg mixture. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons seasoned salt over tater tots.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE: If not baking right away, cover tightly with foil and chill in refrigerator until the next morning.
  1. When ready to bake move oven rack to middle position and set oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 350 degrees, place uncovered casserole in oven for about 45 minutes. Let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes then slice into 3 rows by 5 slices.

Large Group

 

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole for Crowd of 50
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 45 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 
One casserole will take about 1 hour 45 minutes to cook perfectly, cooking two casseroles in the same oven will typically take between 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American, Cooking for a Crowd
Servings: 50 servings
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 6 pounds mild pork sausage
  • 3 dozen large eggs (36 eggs)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
Topping
  • 1 1/2 (32 Ounce) package tater tots
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt
Special Equipment
  • 21” x 13” x 3.5” Disposable Aluminum Pan (Full Size Steam Table Pan)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Spread the sausage in an even layer over the bottom of the disposable aluminum pan and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and gently break any larger pieces into small bite-size pieces with a spatula. Return to oven and continue cooking until sausage is brown and cooked through, about 10 - 15 minutes more.

  3. When done, drain off half of the fat and break up sausage into small bite size pieces with your hands or a spatula.
  4. In a very large bowl, whisk the eggs then add 4 cups milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and seasoned salt.  Pour into the aluminum pan containing the cooked sausage, add the cheddar cheese and mix well.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: If not baking right away, pour mixture into 2 gallon baggies set in pans (to contain any leakage) and chill in refrigerator until the next morning.
  1. When ready to cook, When ready to bake, if baking 1 casserole in the oven move oven rack to middle position and set oven temperature to 350 degrees. If baking 2 casseroles, adjust racks evenly between top and bottom of oven.  Pour mixture into the aluminum pan and arrange frozen tater tots in a single layer over the egg mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons seasoned salt over tater tots.

  2. Once oven temperature reaches 350 degrees, place uncovered casserole in oven for a bout 1 hour and 45 minutes (or 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes.) Casserole is done when a knife inserted in center come out just slightly moist and casserole no longer looks soupy in the middle. Let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes then slice into 3 rows by 16 slices for 48 total pieces.

Looking for more fantastic Breakfasts for a Crowd?

Here are several more excellent choices.  You should also check out my Breakfast for a Crowd page here.  It’s got a wide selection of large group breakfast recipes.

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